Pensions Data

Ceisteanna (156)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

156. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applicants for the widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's pension in the past five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39014/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The figures requested by the Deputy are provided in the table below.

Number of applications received for Widow's, Widower's, or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pensions, 2014 to date.

Year

Registered

2014

7,390

2015

7,707

2016

7,699

2017

7,599

2018

7,542

to end-August 2019

5,204

State Pensions Data

Ceisteanna (157, 158)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

157. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applications for the State pension (contributory) received in the past three years to date; the number refused or pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39015/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

158. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applications for the State pension (non-contributory) received in the past three years to date; the number refused or pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39016/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 158 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the attached tabular statements.

Table 1: State Pension Non-Contributory claims received, awarded, rejected withdrawn and pending at the end of December in each of the years 2016 - 2018 and up to the end of August 2019.

Registered

Awarded

Rejected

Withdrawn

Pending

2016

9,213

8,132

2,332

1,170

1,762

2017

9,187

7,577

2,139

1,323

1,896

2018

9,053

8,040

2,253

1,212

1,561

2019 (to date)

6,183

5,330

1,497

774

1,641

Table 2: State Pension Contributory claims received, awarded, rejected withdrawn and pending at the end of December in each of the years 2016 - 2018 and up to the end of August 2019.

Registered

Awarded

Rejected

Withdrawn

Pending

2016

38,431

25,947

9,703

5,409

3,757

2017

39,883

27,673

10,002

5,336

3,059

2018

42,084

28,364

10,304

4,736

4,252

2019 (to date)

29,691

15,144

9,968

4,117

6,561

Domiciliary Care Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (159)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

159. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress to date in the determining of eligibility for domiciliary care allowance; the number of cases refused; the number overturned on appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39017/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

In the 8 months to end of August 2019, a total of 6063 applications for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) were received. In addition 1280 applications were on hand at 1st January 2019.

At 1st September a total of 6217 applications had been processed, with 4174 approved, 16 withdrawn and 2027 not approved.

Average processing time for DCA applications to date in 2019 was 9.56 weeks, with a departmental processing time target of 10 weeks.

Of the 506 DCA appeals finalised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office up to the end June 2019, 352 were allowed, 7 partially allowed and 147 not allowed.

I hope that clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (160)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

160. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of appeals recorded since the beginning of 2019 in respect of DCA; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39018/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

The number of Domiciliary Care Allowance appeals registered in 2019 to the end of August was 1,164 and the number finalised was 1,054. For the full year 2018 the number registered was 1,432 and the number finalised was 1,572.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Data

Ceisteanna (161)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

161. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of appeals made against by deciding officers pending in respect of various social welfare payments. [39019/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

The figures in the table below cover all current “live appeals” at various stages of the appeals process, including those with the Department awaiting Deciding Officer submissions and cases scheduled for oral hearings.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Number of Appeals Pending at 31 st August 2019

Scheme

Number of Appeals Pending

Adoptive Benefit

Nil

Back To Work Family Dividend

10

Bereavement Grant

Nil

Blind Person’s Pension

10

Carer’s Allowance

1,287

Carer’s Benefit

75

Carer’s Support Grant

81

Child Benefit

335

Deserted Wife’s Allowance

Nil

Deserted Wife’s Benefit

6

Disability Allowance

1,680

Disablement Pension

142

Domiciliary Care Allowance

784

Farm Assist

61

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

9

Guardian's Payment (Non-Con)

10

Incapacity Supplement

2

Illness Benefit

456

Insurability of Employment

128

Invalidity Pension

911

Jobseeker's Allowance

1,529

Jobseeker's Benefit

308

Jobseeker's Transitional

36

Liable Relatives

2

Maternity Benefit

24

Occupational Injury Benefit

31

One Parent Family Payment

207

Partial Capacity Benefit

99

Paternity Benefit

4

Recoverable Benefits and Assistance

3

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

430

State Pension (Contributory)

285

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

208

Widow/Widower's Pension (Contributory)

30

Widow/Widower's Pension (Non-Contributory)

18

Widowed Parent Grant

2

Working Family Payment

556

All Appeals

9,759

Departmental Staff Redeployment

Ceisteanna (162)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

162. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if extra staff will be transferred to her Department to facilitate dealing with backlogs in dealing with various applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39020/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the ongoing need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services.

Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised with specific targets set for responses within particular scheme area. This is to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department.

Like all Government departments and agencies, my Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget, which for this Department has involved reductions in staff.

As part of the Department’s ongoing programme of service modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have been implemented in recent years.

International Agreements

Ceisteanna (163)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

163. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which Ireland has a bilateral arrangement with other EU and non-EU countries for the payment of social welfare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39021/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Ireland has negotiated Bilateral Social Security Agreements with 10 countries. The main purpose of these Agreements is to protect the pension rights of people who have worked and paid social security contributions in Ireland and the countries with which Ireland has such agreements. This is achieved by allowing reckonable social security contributions paid in one or more of these countries to be aggregated with Irish full-rate social insurance contributions for the purposes of qualifying for certain contributory payments in Ireland or in these countries. The Agreements also deal with the social security status of workers who are sent on temporary assignments from one country to the other.

The Bilateral Agreements with Austria and the Swiss Confederation have subsequently been superseded by the EU Regulations on the Coordination of Social Security Systems following Austria’s accession to the EU and the application of those Regulations to the Swiss Confederation.

The EU provides common rules to protect social security rights when a person moves within the EU, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. There are four main principles involved in these rules –

1. A person can only be covered by the legislation of one country at a time, so that they are required only to pay contributions in one country.

2. Persons moving from one EU country to another have the same rights and obligations as nationals of the country that they moves to (known as the principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination).

3. In the case of persons who have moved from one EU country to another and who claim a benefit, their previous periods of insurance, work or residence in other countries are taken into account if necessary (known as the principle of aggregation).

4. Persons who are entitled to a cash benefit from one EU country may generally receive this benefit even if they are living in a different country (known as the principle of exportability).

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (164)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

164. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's allowance will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [39036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

I confirm that my department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 2 September 2019. The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 9 September 2019 to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.

Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Ceisteanna (165, 166)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

165. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding an application for a widow's pension (contributory) by a person (details supplied); when same will be put into payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39077/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

166. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding an application for fuel allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 166 together.

The person concerned was awarded a maximum rate widow's, widower's and surviving civil partner's contributory pension with effect from 26 July 2019. Payment has issued to the person's nominated account in a financial institution and all due arrears have been paid.

Fuel allowance is a means-tested payment to assist householders on long-term social welfare payments with their heating costs during the winter season. An application for fuel allowance issued to the person concerned on 17 September 2019 for completion.

On return of the completed application form, the person's entitlement to fuel allowance will be assessed and they will be notified of the outcome, in writing, without delay.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (167)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

167. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she will take to ensure that an application for the addition of a qualified adult dependant is included in the disability allowance claim of a person (details supplied) in view of the fact the application was submitted nine weeks ago; if it will be processed without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that an increase for qualified adult (IQA) application was received from this gentleman by the disability allowance (DA) section on 6 June 2019.

The application has been referred to a social welfare inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances. Once the SWI has submitted her report to the DA section, a decision will be made on the application and this gentleman will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the deputy.

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Ceisteanna (168, 170, 172)

John Deasy

Ceist:

168. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether it is a realistic expectation that the bid by Waterford City and County Council via the urban regeneration and development fund for €104.5 million towards works around the proposed North Quays scheme, notwithstanding a matching commitment of €35 million, is likely to be phased beyond the €550 million funding round announced up to the end of 2022 in view of the fact that a planning application has still to be submitted for the overall project. [38946/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Deasy

Ceist:

170. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the sustainable transport bridge element of the application by Waterford City and County Council under the urban regeneration and development fund costed at approximately €13 million can be approved in isolation from other aspects of the proposed North Quays scheme in view of the fact that the crossing has received planning permission from An Bord Pleanála; and if so, when a funding decision might be expected. [38954/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Deasy

Ceist:

172. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the works or costs specified in the initial €6 million allocated to Waterford City and County Council in November 2018 as part of its application under the urban regeneration and development fund. [38956/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168, 170 and 172 together.

In 2016, the North Quays in Waterford was the subject of a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) order made by the Government, designating the area for mixed-use development, subject to preparation of an SDZ planning scheme, which has since been completed.

Waterford City and County Council submitted a bid for exchequer grant funding as part of the first call under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) in September 2018. Under the first URDF call for proposals, the Council's bid included four very significant elements:

- Relocation of the City’s railway station;

- A new pedestrian/cyclist/public transport bridge and associated urban greenway;

- Site access roads and road realignment;

- Off-site roads in the wider north bank of the Suir area in Waterford/Kilkenny.

It is intended that the infrastructural works involved will open up the site, making it more accessible and supporting the achievement of the objectives of the SDZ planning scheme more generally.

On 26 November 2018, initial support of €100m in provisional allocations were announced to a total of 88 projects, including €6m of initial support for the Waterford North Quays Project. This initial URDF support funding in principle relates to the works involved in the construction of the bridge and urban greenway. The letter confirming this initial support also outlined agreement in principle to further URDF support for this project.

While there is agreement in principle to provide further URDF support for the overall project, its complexity means that its proposed composition, costs and sequencing must be refined and further examined so that the precise level of URDF support can be established, and apportioned to the various individual project components. This includes consideration of any funding commitment to the project that may go beyond the current capital funding envelope for the URDF under the National Development Plan. In that context, it is worth noting that Project Ireland 2040 has provided for a €2 billion URDF programme operating on a multi-annual basis over the period to 2027.

Pyrite Remediation Programme Implementation

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 168.

Ceisteanna (169, 176)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

169. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the pyrite scheme for County Mayo. [38937/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

176. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address the issue of the delay in implementation of the mica redress scheme in County Donegal; the number of personnel hired to date by Donegal County Council to facilitate the implementation process; the timeline of the implementation of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39025/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 176 together.

In October 2018, the Government approved in principle the development of a grant scheme of financial assistance to support affected homeowners in the counties of Donegal and Mayo to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been damaged due to defective concrete blocks.

In May 2019, agreement was reached with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to allocate €20 million to a scheme for this purpose from within the €2.4 billion housing budget for 2019. Funding for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process.

The full terms and conditions of the scheme are being finalised, again in consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This process will take account of the engagement that my Department is currently having with both Donegal and Mayo County Councils. In this regard, officials from my Department continue to meet with both local authority teams to discuss implementation arrangements for the scheme and further engagement will take place over the coming weeks.

On completion of this work, it is intended to revert to Government on the matter. The aim will be to complete the outstanding work without delay in order to ensure that the scheme can get underway as early as possible.

In regard to the issue of personnel hired by the local authority to facilitate the implementation process, under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, it is the Chief Executive of the Council who is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority. Consequently, the information requested is not available in my Department and is a matter for the local authority concerned.

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 168.